They tell you :

The arrival of spring can mean fast growth.

Love this, as I see daffodils shivering in the east wind and refusing to open….

In sunny weather, temperatures can rise sharply in greenhouses and cold frames. To prevent damage to seedlings, make sure your plants are well ventilated.

Well, we’ll let the sunny weather go (No – hey! The sun just came out!! Time for a drink and good book, sitting out in the sunshine!) – this will have been written months ago or even last spring, when I think we had a heat wave. (Is this another heatwave????!!). I have to wonder though – what seedlings?? You may have some, I guess…in which case…OK, if you see the sun, rush out there. Otherwise leave them feeling cosy.

Weed seedlings appear rapidly this month. Remove them before they flower and set further seeds.

Well, on the whole, they don’t if you keep the garden under a permanent mulch, topped up when you can get the material or when you’ve run out of ‘things to do in your garden.’ Though cleavers does manage to germinate when all else fails – tell me how???? I never know whether it isn’t best and most satisfying to wait till cleavers, otherwise known as sticky willy (ugh) is big and tough enough to pull out in long streamers..

Lift and transplant self-sown annuals and perennials into more suitable positions for flowering.

You know, I don’t generally leave space in my garden for this kind of messing around. I like my plants to be loving up together, not leaving empty space for extras. And, of course, if you mulch (see above) you get neither seedling weeds nor seedling desirables. Price of feet up…

Grasses Parterre and seat, Veddw, copyright Anne Wareham

Grasses Parterre and seat, spring, Veddw,

Leeks need to be sown by the first week of April for autumn harvest. Sow directly into a seed bed, or into modules where they can be grown on in a cold frame to be planted out in their final positions in May and June.

I like leek and potato soup, it’s true – but is there a less sexy vegetable to grow than a leek?? And, you know, when you buy them in shops these days they seem to be grit free. Can you do that in your garden?? And, note with horror – you have to transplant them! Not one job, but two – and then harvesting and trying to get the grit out..

Plant summer-flowering bulbs such as gladioli by the end of this month. They need a well-drained position in full sun.

Dame Edna would be proud of you.

Feed shrubs and roses with a balanced fertiliser such as Growmore or Vitax Q4.

Nice little advert here! – for an unwanted and expensive task… Grow shrubs and roses that don’t need that extra effort and expense – I seem to spend a great deal of time restraining my shrubs (sometimes called pruning but more like slaughter really). And you should see Rosa Felicia here – and smell it. A hybrid musk, and never been fed.

Apply a mulch of well-rotted compost between 5cm (2in) and 7.5cm (3in) deep around shrubs. Take care not to place it directly against their stems as this can cause fungal rots to take hold. Mulching reduces further weed germination and conserves soil moisture in the summer.

Charles' Garden, Veddw in spring copyright Anne Wareham

Charles’ Garden, Veddw in spring

If you use compost of any description to mulch you will, bettcha, get those weed seedlings that mulching would otherwise spare you. Try wood chipping from a tree surgeon or bark from a fencing manufacturer. And, yes, don’t believe that nitrogen depletion nonsense.

Sow tender vegetables such as tomatoes and sweetcorn under cover, to give them a head start. Plant them out in the garden after the last frosts.

If you must, if you must…. Bet they were a treat last year, eh??

Use fleece or a frame covered in very fine mesh and place over brassicas, to protect against flea beetles that become active now and cause severe distortion and damage to foliage.

How to make a really attractive garden…

Early April is the last chance to lift and divide herbaceous perennials before their growth resumes in earnest. 

However, they will lift and divide any time during the summer if they are well watered after…

Wash your pots

I bet you have a handy sink with running hot water where you keep your pots?? I remember this one, as I didn’t.  Freezing cold water out of the hose, dirt everywhere, wondering what for. Gave it up and never looked back. Even when I did the growing seeds thing (I am a proper gardener, you know) I never noticed any problem from using dirty pots.

Hedge Garden, Veddw, copyright Anne Wareham

Hedge Garden, Veddw,

Don’t worry if the bad weather has made you late sowing seeds. They will catch up.

Now they tell you. Did you really go out in the freezing cold and snow, thinking the job was as urgent as they said? Well, now look what they’re saying…

Sow hardy annuals in spare patches of ground. The-can’t-fail-collection: love-in-a-mist, Californian poppy, larkspur, clary sage and dill, which delivers beautiful, airy heads of open, acid-green flowers, ideal for cutting.

What spare patches of ground????

Turn your compost heap

Why on earth???

Watch out for lily beetles.

And say a friendly hello when you spot one.

Dead-heading naturalised bulbs will keep them vigorous and healthy.

But you won’t get any seeding…

 Rake moss from the lawn with a spring-time rake towards the end of the month.

They do not love you, these well paid writers. Moss in the lawn keeps it green, soft and bouncy. Loverly under bare toes if you dare risk the inevitable slug squashing too..

And, for the nit pickers – what have we been doing at Veddw? None of the above.  I drained the reflecting pool and mopped it clean. Pulled out the dead foliage from some of the succulents in the conservatory and hoovered up some spider webs. Jeff went on digging the new drainage trench to hopefully save the yew hedges, cut down the Pleioblastus auricomus and mulched. Charles cut out loads of dead Cotoneaster. Watched it snow, yet again.. That was it.

Anne Wareham

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Conservatory Veddw copyright Anne Wareham

Conservatory Veddw

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